Pets with pre-existing health problems: a guide for pet owners

Sometimes, animals come into our lives that we cannot help but love regardless of their health or general condition. If you’ve ever taken on a rescue dog or cat you’ll understand. If you’ve recently welcomed a pet to your home with a pre-existing condition, it’s important that you have as much information about the condition as possible. This will help you to manage the condition and ensure that your pet lives as comfortable and fulfilling a life as possible.

Common pre-existing conditions in pets

If you’ve adopted an animal from an animal charity or rescue centre, the staff there should brief you fully on the healthcare requirements of your new pet. Cats, dogs and other animals can suffer from a variety of conditions in the same way humans do, including the following:

Chronic conditions

Chronic illnesses cannot be cured and will require ongoing regular treatment. Examples of these diseases include cancer, diabetes, arthritis and allergies.

Historic conditions

Previous injuries which cause recurring issues (such as joint pain after an accident) are classed as historic conditions. In some cases, historic conditions might not cause any discomfort at all, but you should be aware of these nonetheless.

Bilateral conditions

Issues that affect both sides of your pet’s body, such as hip dysplasia, are known as bilateral conditions. These may worsen with age and could require surgery further down the line.

Congenital conditions

These conditions or illnesses are hereditary and often occur as a condition of breeding. Examples of congenital conditions include heart disease. These conditions can be medicated but are also likely to worsen over time.

Is it possible to find pet insurance for pre-existing conditions?

A few companies are willing to provide pet insurance for existing conditions. However, the definition of a pre-existing medical condition can vary from provider to provider, so it’s important to read the terms and conditions of any policy documents carefully.

Most insurers will define a pre-existing condition as a condition that has occurred prior to the insurance policy being sought. To find pet insurance that adequately covers any pre-existing conditions your pet has, you will need to compare quotes and shop around. If you’re struggling to find cover, it could be worthwhile consulting with your veterinarian and asking if they know of any insurance companies that might be willing to help.

Do pet insurance policies cover new conditions

A pet insurance policy for pre-existing conditions should also cover any new conditions developed by your pet. The length of this cover will vary, however, based on the type of policy you take out.

Time-limited policies generally cover your pet for a maximum of twelve months from the first treatment date. These policies are cheaper than lifetime policies but could leave you without coverage when you need it most. For further information, you may find it helpful to ask potential insurers about pet insurance for existing conditions.

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